Number 1 Reason For Selling Your Business

What is the Number 1 Reason I hear when speaking to Business Owners about selling their business?-  Why are you looking to sell your Business?  — ” Because  I Am Ready”.     For those of you who have owned a business for any period of time this is a response that is fairly easy to understand.

I am a business broker based in Florida (and business owner)  and speak to many prospective buyers and sellers of business and understanding  the “Why” for both parties is so important in assisting the buyers and sellers of businesses.  I really think that most people that have given a fleeting thought to buying a business believe that business owners want to sell their business and therefore something must be wrong with the business.  Actually I am currently working on selling a Landscape Business in Florida.

Business Broker

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The business owner has a  good quality business for sale, good cash flow, a comfortable lifestyle.  He has owned the business for x years and is “ready to do something else”.  He will be relocating out of state, he owns a successful business he is looking to sell. Recently we spoke about the potential purchase of another business in an unrelated field and his hesitancy about buying a business because why would someone sell a “good” business- .  And this comment is coming from someone selling a “good business”.

I also am currently helping an owner of a Computer Service Store For Sale who`s revenues are up 30% over last year, Profits are up 20% plus and is seeking to sell his business at less than 1 times annual adjusted cash flow.  He also is anxious to start a new business opportunity with a close friend, and that endevor is awaiting the sale of his business.  A good business at a good price and the owner is “ready to move on”.

Solid Reason For Selling Your Business

Good businesses get sold for very good reasons.  Being “ready to do something else” is a good reason.    A seller of a business needs to be ready to sell.  Really- you only really exit your business by 2 means.

1. By your choice-your timeframe, your plan.

2. Not by your choice– closing due to business failure, business conditions, bankruptcy,Forced Sale.

Granted there may be certain undesirable business or personal events that prompts one to “be ready”.  A business owner may have additional employee problems and decide that enough is enough and that is the impetus to sell ones business.  New frustrating regulation, customer problems, and any one of numerous  problems a business owner may face may be  the “final straw” and induce a business owner to pursue the sale of the business.

But again for any  business owner that has owned and managed a business for an extended period of time problems such as these come and go.  Business can be going quite well and the owner may just be ready to move on.  Actually selling a business while the business is doing well is a well thought out exit strategy for a business owner.  And yes problems can and, do come along with the business.  Problems within the business does not make a business a bad business.

A business owner may “just be Ready” to:

  • retire
  • try  something new- a second career
  • want to move or relocate
  • Just be done running the business I have been running for the last 20 years

I am not aware of the existence of a Perfect Business. Even the best of business opportunities will likely contain issues and or undesirable situations.  But if you truly want to own your own business and move into the role of business owner- Understand that good business are being sold by business owners that are just ready…. to move on.

Are Todays Job Seekers Tomorrows Business Buyers

In Business Acquisition and Sales  the “pool” of  most future business buyers are currently employed by someone else right now.  The same applies for future Entrepreneurs.   But what about those currently unemployed?

The job market seems to have an abundance of very qualified people chasing a very limited number of jobs.  The number of those unemployed in the US seems like a fairly difficult number to track, but with unemployment in the 9-10% range-depending how you measure or guesstimate  it seems that you have well  over 10,000,000 (ten million) people unemployed here in the United States. Is owning your own business by either starting a business or buying a business a viable option for those unemployed.

Is Buying A Business The Future For You?

Is buying a business or starting a new business the right career path to all of those seeking to “re-find” a career or just get off the ranks of the unemployed.  Buying a business or starting a business is not for everyone, but it can be a very viable option for many.  There are the both mindset obstacles to overcome,  and finacial battles to be won before one can make the transition  from employee or currently unemployed to one that owns and operates their own business.

I personally think overcoming the mindset of  “can I do this?” may be the bigger of the 2 obstacles. To over use a saying- “Thinking outside the box”. Personally I feel there seems to be so many that are “trapped” inside the box, that  thinking outside the box in this situation can be a life changing situation.  I believe that many of those so many qualified individuals that are currently unemployed will consider “going out on their own” and enter the world of entrepreneur by either starting or buying a business.

For example- I am working with a business owner of a small computer service store, assisting him in selling his business.  He is very anxious to sell his store as he has plans to move out of state to be near a friend and join him in a business venture there.  He recently reduced his price to $65k due to his increased interest in moving on.

Buying A Business

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He runs a viable one man business, works about 40 hour  weeks, and his business is up over 2009 numbers.  His “Owner benefit” is approximately $70,000.  So are you buying a job that pays you $70,000 a year?  Are you buying a career?  Are you buying the ability to control your career? It can be a nice situation for the right person.

Sending off resumes, searching the job board, going on job interviews can almost turn into a routine that may seem to have no end.- Is it a comfort zone, is it doing everything you can do to find your next career.  I suggest spending a few minutes  looking on a website such as mine Florida Businesses For Sale , or maybe some other larger business for sale websites like or, or possibly look on to see what sort of businesses for sale are out there, or possibly a website, or e commerce site may be available, what are the cost,  and is it even a possibility based on ones current situation.  I think one should at least allow the concept of buying a business or starting a business to come into the equation.  Certainly owning or running a business is not for everyone, but is it for you?

5   Reasons not to consider starting your own business or buying a business.  – Or maybe you should…

  1. Money is needed to buy a business or start a business–    but do you have any realistic feel of how much it would take.
  2. Ive never bought a business before or started a business before – talk to most all businesses owners that have owned their business for 10+ years and they will also say the same thing.
  3. The economy is doing so bad now, its just the wrong time to try a new venture.- There are many business owners that have and are delaying the sale of their business.  A “pent up” demand is being create.  The workings of supply and demand show that as supply increase prices reduce.And of course also  the choices are more abundant.
  4. Some people are just more prepared to buy a business or start a business.  This is true, but are you one of those “some people”.  When you talk to long time business owners you learn that all the uncertainty that you may have while making this major decision is completely normal.
  5. My Job Searching is  really going well- I think that is great, my decision to “be my own boss” 20 years ago was about controlling my own destiny,  perhaps there are different ways to do that.

My profession involves a lot of time talking with business owner regarding their short and long term business plans.  Many current business owners feel they need to get their financials/ and Sales  back up to a level commensurate to the value they seek from the sale of their business. This is creating somewhat of a pent up supply   I also speak to many potential business buyers and understand that everyone’s situation is so different. Available money, family, location, other personal matters all go into the evaluation.  Part of my long term planning of my business broker activities does assume that many of todays unemployed will be tomorrows business buyers.

We Suck Less

Currently I am a Business Broker in Florida working with business owners in the process of buying and selling businesses.  Back in 1985 I was working for (a Texas based Technology company ). We were bidding on a very large multi-million dollar computer based project for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Part of the bidding process involved all us potential vendors travelling via buses throughout the Los Angeles area viewing a dozen of the 700+ schools that would potentially buy and use our systems.

The Importance Of Smart Marketing

While driving thru the various areas of LA I had seen white billboards with 3 words on them WE SUCK LESS. I saw this billboard in several different parts of the city. After repeatedly seeing that same sign in the various communities, I asked a local contact regarding the purpose of that billboard, or rather what it meant. I was told that it was a marketing campaign of a local radio station. The premise was – We’re not the best, We’re not number one, We’re not perfect, But We Suck Less than our competitors, and therefore customers/listeners should tend our way. “Were not perfect, we may not be very good, but we suck less than your other options”…

We Suck Less

As we continued the 2 day journey throughout the city, that concept really struck a nerve. It really wasn’t a premise or concept that was even remotely familiar to me. This approach, while just in jest… I think, just hit me as so unusual, that I found myself sharing this story many times over the last 25+ years. Ironically I have also crossed paths with various businesses and business situations over the years that prompted me to recall this ” business concept”.

Is this concept completely hypothetical, or does it truly exist? Has anyone else seen this in action in certain business environments? As a business broker I get to see the inner workings of many companies and mostly I witness hard working well meaning business owners.  But, is it possible that this could be an approach of a business, or just the result of many years of apathy, poor management, or some other larger problem?

Set The Bar High

I really really think we all our wired to “set the bar very high”, we strive to be very good, we want to be the best, some seek perfection even knowing its not possible but keeping it as a goal nonetheless. But to non- chalantly say, “I just have to suck less than the next guy” and as a result of that approach my business will advance to me is somewhat mind numbing.

I recognize faults and imperfections occur in my own business practices. I’ve always felt that it is important that I remain my own toughest critic. As a business broker that helps business owners sell businesses and individuals buy businesses communication is very important. Promptly returning emails and phone calls to me is an essential, and is just mandated.

Treating business relationships with respect, honesty and effort is important to me. Is it easy for someone to fall into the trap that since my colleagues/competitors don’t return emails/phones calls for 4-5 days or never then, if I wait 2-3 days to return a call or email, that makes me better than my competitors. Is this possibly the mindset of some in business? Can one be satisfied with the approach of just not being as bad as the others?- I don’t know. As a business broker and professional, I do know I may see this play out in other businesses, but certainly not mine.

But I do know Striving to “Suck Less”, to me just sucks. I really don’t know if it is a conscious business concept by some, but I do believe I have seen some resemblance of this approach. I also know that I find myself 25 years later sharing this story again.